Steps to Resolving a Case
When individuals are injured in an accident, they are often left with many questions and concerns regarding their injuries, the accident, compensation, and recovering damages. At The Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our legal team provides clients with all of the information they need to resolve their personal injury cases.
Investigate the Claim - When you have sustained injuries, your first priority after getting medical treatment, should be to hire a personal injury lawyer to investigate your accident. With an extensive investigation, we will be able to determine who was at fault for the accident and if it could have been prevented. Photographs might be taken and witnesses might be contacted. Accident reports, medical records, wage and employment records and insurance documents will all be gathered to be used as evidence in your case. When we are investigating an injury case, it is important for the injured person to make his or her case as strong as possible by following up with treating physicians, following all health care providers' advice, keeping all medical appointments, and following the treatment regimen recommended by doctors.
Maximum Medical Improvement - MMI is a common legal term used in personal injury cases used to describe the injured person's medical condition when it has reached the fullest recovery. To reach this, an individual must continue seeing his or her physician regularly and keep up on all rehabilitation requirements. The doctor must have diagnosed all injuries and determined if they are permanent to decide all future health care needs related to the injury. In some cases it makes sense to enter into settlement negotiations immediately and resolve a claim quickly. Generally, however, it is not a good idea to make an official claim for compensation until you have reached MMI. This is because it is not possible to know the full extent of your damages until you have reached this point. Once the injured person reaches MMI, his or her treating physician will write a final report documenting the extent of the injury, the permanent nature of the injury, the type of future medical care needed, and the cost of future medical care. The treating physician's final report is often a critical piece of evidence needed to prove the right to compensation.
Make a Claim for Compensation - At our firm, we always keep your best interests in mind. If we believe that it is in your best interests to resolve your claim in a swift manner, we will do so. However, in many cases, the at-fault party's insurance company will not offer full value for a claim until our firm produces enough evidence to prove your claim. In situations such as this, we will collect evidence from our investigation and your physician to prove the extent of the damages. While we cannot force the at-fault party or their insurance company to make a fair offer in your case, we will negotiate with them to obtain their highest offer. We will then make recommendations regarding a fair settlement, but ultimately, you make the decision regarding whether or not to settle your case.
Litigation - The process of filing a lawsuit, gathering evidence using formal court approved procedures, and moving toward a trial is called litigation. Many cases resolve without the need for litigation. However, if the at-fault party and/or their insurance company do not offer a settlement that is acceptable to you, a decision will be made regarding whether or not it makes sense to litigate your case. Formal litigation begins by filing a document with the court called a complaint. We will file a complaint on your behalf if it makes sense to do so. Once the complaint is filed, we begin the discovery process. During this time, we gather evidence for trial to support our case and also receive evidence from the at-fault party. This process often includes answering written questions and giving a deposition.
Mediation/Arbitration - Once the litigation process begins, cases are assigned to either mediation or arbitration. These are court-ordered processes aimed at helping to resolve your case without the need for a trial.
Trial - Once the litigation process begins, cases are assigned to either mediation or arbitration. These are court-ordered processes aimed at helping to resolve your case without the need for a trial.
Trial - Although many cases will settle without the need to go to trial, this could be the final step in resolving a case. The trial process can be as short as one day or as long as several weeks. A trial involves presenting evidence to a neutral decision maker. Sometimes the final decision maker is the judge. However, most of the time, the judge acts more like a referee by making decisions that ensure the trial process is fair. Usually, the ultimate decision maker is a jury. During trial, the case will be presented to the jury, including the evidence, witnesses and opening and closing arguments. In the end, the jury decides how much compensation you are entitled to.
To find out more about the steps in resolving a personal injury case, please feel free to call or visit our office for a free consultation*. We proudly serve clients throughout Cabarrus County, as well as surrounding counties of Mecklenburg, Gaston, Union and Iredell.